Lap 41 - Ferrari's Schumacher was holding up 2nd place Fernando Alonso, so Renault changed their strategy and pit early. Schumacher pit the next lap and got back in before Alonso went by. Schumacher won the race.
Helio Castroneves won again today. Now that the IRL has a pretty even package for everyone, we are seeing that he and Dan Wheldon are the best drivers in the series. For now. Dixon, Hornish, Kanaan and Franchitti are keeping up.
Wow, the IRL actually let Honda be the pace car. In Florida, and now Japan.
The six winners on this year's list include defending champion Dan Wheldon, Buddy Rice (2004), Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998), Buddy Lazier (1996) and Al Unser Jr. (1992, 1994).
It's the largest number of past winners on the entry list since 2002, when six previous visitors to Victory Lane also were named to entries for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
A total of 26 drivers have been named to the 38 entries filed this year for the 33 starting spots in the world's most prestigious auto race. Sixty-six cars are included on those 38 entries, including backup cars.
This will be Unser's first attempt to qualify at Indianapolis since 2004. He has 17 previous Indianapolis 500 starts, the most of any driver named to an entry.
Another past winner making a comeback is Cheever. He is driving the No. 51 Cheever Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone in his first attempt to make the field since 2002.
A high-profile comeback also is taking center stage at defending race champion Andretti Green Racing. Indy legend Michael Andretti will attempt to race in the "500" for the first time since 2003, driving the No. 1 Jim Beam/Vonage Dallara/Honda/Firestone.
Andretti will attempt to earn his long-coveted first Indy 500 victory. He has led 426 laps during his 14 prior Indy starts, the most by any driver without a victory.
The three rookie drivers registered so far include Arie Luyendyk, Jr., Marco Andretti and P.J. Chesson.
"He was very disrespectful toward me," Speed said at a press conference. "The fact we have the same parent company, Red Bull, and that we're part of the same family means that eventually things will cool down. As it is right now, there's certainly a lot of tension between us."
Why don't the teams hire cheerleaders?
Race Notes: A rookie driver is named "Will Power". They've jumped on the Danica bandwagon and have a girl from the UK driving. Jimmy Vasser has been convinced to return for a few more race this year.
The IRL has also coaxed some old timers back - Michael Andretti and Eddie Cheever Jr., Roberto Morina showed up as is Buddy Lazier. Last week's IRL street race at St Pete was a success and a welcome win for Helio Castroneves. Danica Patrick finished in 6th!
Fernando Alonso won his 2nd race of the year at the Australian Grand Prix. The safety car made 4 appearances during this crashfilled race.
Now I'm a big fan of the Corvette, but this just doesn't seem right to me. After GM gave up on trying to build a competitive engine for Indycar racing, why are their cars still being used as pace vehicles? I mean that is some major advertising the IRL or IMS is giving to Chevy.
The pace cars have always been American brands, but the car company would also have some cars in the Indy 500.
If the American car companys can't compete at Indy, maybe they should cut back on Nascar or F1. If they don't race, then they should stay home.
Honda is staying and keeping the IRL alive and they don't even get to advertise their cars?!
I don't think Chevy will get serious about racing Indycar if the IRL is going to let them pace and get all of that advertising anyway.
Previously technical director at Renault, Gascoyne joined Toyota in December 2003 and his contract with the team was due to end this year.
INDYCAR CRASH VIDEO (158Mb, 720x480) - March 26 at Homestead - Paul Dana hits Ed Carpenter
INDYCAR CRASH VIDEO 2(48Mb, 720x480)
Play with Media Player.
Paul Dana began his IRL career by racing in the Infiniti Pro Series. Dana sought out and brought sponsor Ethanol to the IRL. He moved up to Indycar last year in 2005, driving for Hemelgarn Racing. When they got to Indy in May, Dana spun and hit the wall backward early in the month during practice. He came back the next day, spun again in the short chute, but broke his back this time. Dana would be out the rest of the season to heal.
He was assuredly excited when he found that the Rahal Letterman team wanted him to drive for them beginning this season.
(March 26, 2006) During practice this morning for the IRL's opener at Homestead Miami, Ed Carpenter hit the wall and drifted down into the race line. A few drivers avoided him, but Dana hit him at 176 mph, sending both drivers to the hospital. Carpenter is in stable condition, however Paul Dana did not survive.
When word came at noon about Dana, the Rahal Letterman team withdrew their other drivers, Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice, from the race.
Paul with his wife Tonya in 2004
The whole reason that the event will not be ran is because the fairground's insurance company insists that the fencing and guardrails need to be replaced. The State Fair officials said refurbishing the barriers could cost millions of dollars.
3 minutes into final practice this morning at 10 a.m., Ed Carpenter lost his backend and hit the wall, then slid down the track. Before Paul Dana realized Carpenter's predicament, he slammed into him at 176 mph, reminiscent of the CART accident where Zanardi got T-boned and lost his legs several years ago in Germany.
This time though, it was the hitter that took the worst of it. Track workers had to revive Carpenter. Both drivers were airlifted to the hospital. At 12:45 it was announced that Paul Dana was dead at age 30. Carpenter appears to be ok and has no broken bones.
Dana had been a sports reporter as well as a promising young race car driver. He spent a few years in the Indy Pro Series and had even started on the pole at Homestead in 2004. Last year, he moved up to Indycar, driving for Hemelgarn racing. Dana missed out on most of his Indycar rookie season though because he broke his back during practice for the Indy 500 last May.
Upon recovery late in 2005, he was picked to drive for Rahal Letterman Racing, joining sports sensation, Danica Patrick and 2004 Indy 500 Champion, Buddy Rice. Both drivers withdrew from the race after the news of their teammate's death.
The last Indycar driver to die was also a newly chosen rookie who was to drive for Rahal Letterman Racing. Tony Renna died while practicing at the Indy Speedway in 2003.
Dana's wife Tonya was here in Indianapolis attending church when she heard the tragic news.
The race started with a smaller field than planned. Marco Andretti jumped the start in his debut Indycar race and dropped out early due to a broken half-shaft.
Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta crashed late in the race.
The last 15 laps had the entire audience on their feet holding their breath as they watched 2006 Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon duel with Helio Castroneves for the lead. They ran side by side at 215 mph with Sam Hornish, Jr, Dario Franchitti, and Scott Dixon running 3 wide right behind them. Castroneves held onto to lead until Wheldon pulled a few inches ahead of him at the finish line, denying Castroneves a hometown win for the third time.
(3/25) - It was cold, rainy and snowy in Bristol this weekend. Cup qualifying in Bristol was rained out Friday while the Busch race was stopped for a whiteout after just 32 laps.
As Frosty the Snowman blared over the track PA system, teams and drivers entertained themselves during the delay by throwing snowballs at each other and the fans. One crew even built a small snowman along pit road.
The snow eventually stopped, the sun came out and racing resumed after a delay of 1 hour, 19 minutes.
(3/19) - Malaysian Grand Prix
Giancarlo Fisichella got the pole position. Rookie sensation Nico Rosberg started an amazing P3 ahead of his teammate Mark Webber who would start in P4. Unfortunately for WilliamsF1, Nico's engine blew, spectacularly by the way, on the 8th lap and Webber would be out 8 laps later. No drivers have been on the podium in Malaysia except for Schumi, Kimi and Alonso. This tradition was broken by the first lap, when Kimi spun and wrecked out of the race. Schumi had an engine change and had to start from the rear of the pack, along with four other drivers. He would work his way up into the points by race end.
I started to get excited when Jacques Villeneuve passed Trulli, but as usual, everyone else began to pass him too. None the less, JV came home in the points and he showed up with a new girlfriend.
Fisi, Button and Alonso were 1,2,3 respectively for much of the race, but by lap 43 Alonso won 2nd place thanks to fast pitwork. Nick Heidfeld's engine blew with just 8 laps remaining. Fisichella held on to win his third career F1 victory moving him into 4th in the points standing. Meanwhile Jenson Button ties a record of having the most podium finishes without a win in F1 history.
Note: the ticket price for the Malaysian g.p. is $13.
(3/13) - Patrick Faure is quitting as Renault's Formula One director, to be replaced by former team finance chief Alain Dassas. The announcement comes the day after Renault's defending world champion Fernando Alonso opened the 2006 championship with victory in Bahrain.
"Our objective is to maintain the successful momentum of the team," said Renault's chief executive Carlos Ghosn.
Dassas will replace Faure after the Australian Grand Prix.
There are 11 teams this year and 18 races.
The engines are new this year, 750 H.P. 2.4 liter V-8's instead of the 900 H.P. 3-liter V-10's. However, Toro Rosso is using a restricted V-10.
Williams, Toyota and Super Aguri join Ferrari and MF1 as teams using Bridgestone tires. The rest of the teams will by running Michelin tires.
Qualifying procedures have been changed again - Instead of 1 flyling lap, all the drivers will now go out on the track Saturday afternoon at the same time. Every 15-20 minutes or so, as they race around the circuit, the slowest drivers will be yanked out and placed at the furthest spot left open on the grid. The top 10 qualifiers must start the race with the same amount of fuel as they had at the start of the last qualifying session. Apparently the other 12 drivers can fill up if they wish.
There are three F1 rookies this year. America's Scott Speed drives for Scuderia Toro Rosso. Germany's Nico Rosberg drives for WilliamsF1. Japan's Yuji Ide drives for Super Aguri.
Tomas Scheckter's new car is cool.
"I tell you what, I gotta get one of these at home," Wallace said. "I had a good time. I feel like I need to breathe a little while and then try it again. I need to talk to Penske about running a third car at Indy. You never know."
Michael Andretti is also getting back behind the wheel of an Indycar this Spring. He will be racing against his son, Marco. How fitting.
First, here are the words Stewart spoke a few days ago: "We're gonna kill somebody," Stewart said. "Somebody else is gonna die at Daytona or Talladega with what we're doing right here. I hope I'm not around when it happens."
What he meant by "we're" is Crew Chief Zipadelli and himself.
The Daytona 500 is not even over with as I write this, but Stewart has already intentionally taken out two guys that could have won today. Early in the race Stewart went into the wall to put Jeff Gordon there. Around lap 120 he blatantly swept down and pushed Matt Kenseth off into the grass as they both ran near the front at 190 mph. Kenseth's car came back up on the track in the corner right in front of oncoming cars which managed to avoid him.
Instead of having Stewart arrested for attempted homicide, or even just kicking him out, NASCAR sends him to the back of the pack during a yellow. As the in-car camera switched to show him, he reached over an spun the camera away so no one could see him. As he and Kenseth accelerated out of the pits, Kenseth, angered, sped up and jumps onto the track so that he can pull up beside Stewart to let him know he'd like to drive him into the grass. NASCAR then hands Kenseth a stop-and-go penalty.
Update: Stewart and Kyle Busch got into it later. It looked to me like Bush was unitentional and Stewart obviously retaliated. Not surprisingly, NASCAR did nothing to Stewart, but gave Busch a stop-and-go during a green flag late in the race, thereby eliminating him from a good finish. Stewart finished 5th, Kenseth 15th, Kyle Busch 26th and Jeff Gordon 28th.
Jeff Green, No.66, top, shows rear-end damage as Joe Nemechek, No. 01, weaves through traffic after a crash where Carl Edwards, No. 99 plowed into Kyle Petty's No.45 during the Daytona 500.
Jimmie Johnson won, capping a roller-coaster week that saw NASCAR kick his crew chief out of competition for cheating.
Jimmie's wife, Chandra.
Vision also recently announced that they had hired Tomas Scheckter as a teammate for Ed Carpenter. Scheckter has two wins and eight poles, and 1,311 laps led, in four seasons of IndyCar competition. He's quick, but he's known for wrecking.
Vision also hired David Cripps, Scheckter's former engineer at Panther Racing.
This year's cost to lease a Honda is $250,000 for the full month; $115,000 after the first weekend of qualifying. Beck Motorsports owner Greg Beck fears his IRL days are over. "I am tapped out (financially)," he said.
With leased engines, racing on road courses, higher costs and the subsequent elimination of poorer teams, the IRL seems to becoming what CART was. With the bad moves by management with marketing and losing tracks and with the engine manufacturer's leaving, the IRL seems to be on the verge of duplicating the downfall of CART. They are even filling up with foreign drivers. So far, it is looking like there will only be 7 Americans in the IRL for '06.
Indy Car has lost a couple of big teams over the winter. IRL fans can say goodbye to Team Menard who still manage to run a whole bevy of Cup cars. They were also title sponsor of the IRL's Infiniti Pro Series. Infact it is now called the Indy Pro Series - no word on what happened to Infiniti, the luxury Japanese car company who supplied the powerplants. Also, Red Bull's sponsorship in Cheever Racing ended last year and so the team has dropped out of Indy Car and started a Pro Series team as well as a Grand Am team.
It is going to take a while to get used to seeing Wheldon in a red Target suit.
DANICA AT ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONADanica Patrick's teammates were Rusty Wallace, Allan McNish and Jan Lammers.
Someone told me yesterday that Toyota now sells more cars in America than Chevy, Chrysler or Ford. I found that hard to believe and went looking for answers. Here is the best thing I could find:
"U.S. automakers' stranglehold on much of the Midwest is eroding. From 2000 to 2004, their share of the Midwest market fell from 78.6% to 71.2%, according to R.L. Polk & Co., which tracks auto registrations. Asian automakers' share went from 17.6% to 24.2%. The Midwest — North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan — is Detroit's biggest market. On the East and West coasts, Detroit vehicles make up about 50% of sales; in the South, they make up about 60%."
The IRL says they are now going to use Gene Simmons as a spokesman. Ugly, hairy and old Gene used to be the frontman for the 70's rock band Kiss. What his appeal is now, I'm not exactly sure. He has also developed a new theme song for the IRL called "I Am Indy". Thankfully, it only lasts 90 seconds.
Patrick, 23, will work with retiring NASCAR Nextel Cup star Rusty Wallace's team for the January 28 race, which features Daytona Prototype cars and lasts 24 hours over a 3.56-mile road course as teams rotate drivers.
Patrick, who became the highest-finishing woman ever in the Indianapolis 500, was named Female Athlete of the Year by the United States Sports Academy after dominating a worldwide Internet election hosted by usatoday.com. Patrick also was runner-up in media voting for the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, trailing only golf superstar Annika Sorenstam.
Patrick also ranked No. 6 among 30 athletes in fan voting at ESPN.com in the "Who Was The Ultimate Face of 2005, SportsNation?" poll.
IndyCar® Series rookie Patrick electrified the sports world in May after qualifying fourth for the 89th Indianapolis 500, leading three times for 19 laps and finishing fourth after a thrilling late-race duel with eventual winner Dan Wheldon. She was named JPMorgan Chase Bank Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.
(put your own funny line here.)
I'm just jealous ;-)
Schumi's new home is next to a golf course too.
How cool is that!
Here are some "internet rumors" about the house: an underground garage to hold 19 cars, an in-door swimming pool, a sauna, a climbing wall, a gym and a 189-foot trophy room.
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